December 26, 2007 Edition

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Clover Bend project to
receive $100,000 in funding

Richard Davis, director of Parks and Tourism, visits with Viola Meadows, president of the Clover Bend Historical Preservation Association, during a parks commission tour of the Clover Bend site in 2004.
File Photo
Gretchen Hunt

The Clover Bend Historical Preservation Association has received a boost to assist in efforts to make the Clover Bend site a fully functional museum and education center.

U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representative Marion Berry recently announced millions of dollars in funding for Arkansas's 1st Congressional District, including $100,000 for Clover Bend.

Members of the Arkansas congressional delegation announced on Dec. 18 that Congress has finalized an omnibus appropriations package containing millions of dollars for numerous state and local priorities for Arkansas.

The omnibus appropriations package combines 11 of the 12 annual spending bills. The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2008, was signed into law earlier this year.

The omnibus package passed the House on Dec. 17, the Senate approved it on Dec. 19 and the president has expressed that he will sign the bill.

"We're tickled to death," Berry said of the designation of funds for Clover Bend. "Mrs. Viola Meadows has been talking to me about Clover Bend since I've been in office. I admire what she's done, and the community's support of the project."

Meadows expressed her excitement about the funding saying, "We're pleased ? delighted beyond words. It's the best Christmas present I've ever received."

"2008 is our 25th anniversary," Meadow continued, " and what a celebration we're going to have."

Berry said the funding is for general use to continue improvements at the site, which he said is historically significant and deserving of the funds.

"I think it's important to maintain that heritage," he said. "I'm just pleased we're going to be able to help out a little bit."

Meadows said Clover Bend is a national historic site and shared that the funding used to establish the settlement in 1937 was issued by the Department of The Interior, the same department that 70 years later has designated $100,000 for the preservation of the site.

She said the major project they plan to use the money for is the renovation of the gymnasium.

"That money will mean that our gymnasium will be like new," she said. "We have a thousand things to do with that money and we're going to make it go as far as we can."

Berry said the funding has been a long time coming.

"We've been trying to get funding since Tom Baker was in the legislature," he said "He did a wonderful job as an ambassador for Clover Bend."

Meadows said many have supported the project through the years including Baker, State Sen. Tim Wooldridge, State Rep. Don House, State Rep. J.R. Rogers and State Sen. Robert Thompson, as well as local people who have put in countless volunteer hours and helped with grant writing.

She said while the $100,000 is a large sum of money, it will be used for specific projects and funding will still be needed to pay the bills.

"We depend on donations for upkeep, utilities and general expenses," she said.

Berry praised Meadows for her work at the site and her diligence in seeking funds for the project

"She has been patient and at the same time never given up," he said.

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